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“Extreme Scale” at Columbia GSAPP

Press Release
November 29, 2023

Columbia GSAPP works with the communities of the Bronx and Congressmember Espaillat on redesigning the Kingsbridge Armory as a hub for neighborhood empowerment

The “Extreme Scale” exhibition in Avery Hall documents the first semester of a GSAPP-wide initiative to envision a future for the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, the largest armory in the United States.

On Monday, November 27, 2023, students and faculty from the Master of Architecture, Advanced Architectural Design, and Architecture and Urban Design programs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) were joined by Columbia University President Minouche Shafik, US Congressmember Adriano Espaillat, and representatives from the Bronx Community to share their research and design projects envisioning a future for the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, New York.

Installed on Avery Hall’s 400 floor through December 4, 2023, the “Extreme Scale” is the outcome of two Advanced Architecture Studios and a seminar on Practices of Community Engagement held in the Fall 2023 semester. The exhibition presents a series of student models, drawings, and renderings – each of which interrogates a “what if” scenario for the armory – alongside video displays that showcase moments of community and stakeholder engagement.

In this interdisciplinary project, Columbia GSAPP’s faculty and students from three academic programs are working in collaboration with community members and leaders to provide impactful solutions through actionable designs that address the needs of the local community that are currently not met. The project was realized with support and insight from the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Columbia University, and the direct involvement of Congressmember Adriano Espaillat, who shared with the students his engagement with the Bronx Community’s vision.

During the opening of the exhibition, Congressmember Espaillat expressed his satisfaction to see how architecture could expand the desires of the Bronx Community in surprising and valuable ways. He looks forward to the next steps of the project, when the community of the Bronx engages with the work produced.

President Shafik, who first spoke with Congressmember Espaillat about the possibility of this collaboration in August 2023, reiterated Columbia University’s commitment to contribute to the needs, wellbeing, and innovative futures of its New York communities.

“Community Dream-Works”
Video produced by Columbia GSAPP Architecture and Urban Design students Chung-An Lu, Xin Ge, Xinyu Cao for the Community Engagement Practicum, Fall 2023.

The Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment RFP

Originally built in 1917 for World War I ammunition storage and firing practice, the landmarked structure sits within a 245,600 square foot site and comprises an 180,00 square-foot column-free drill hall atop two substantial cellar floors. Over the past century since its military function, the facility has been utilized transiently for a diversity of programs ranging from boxing matches to film sets, and the perimeter has become home to a robust street vendor community.

In September 2023, following the announcement of an up to $200 million joint City and State investment to support the redevelopment of the Armory, The NYC Economic Development Corporation, which has long led efforts to permanently rehabilitate and repurpose the site, issued a request for proposals (RFP) that expands on the recent release of the Together for Kingsbridge Vision Plan, which was the result of a 9-month visioning process that involved over 4,000 stakeholders.

Building from the RFP and Vision Plan, GSAPP’s Advanced V Architecture studios and Community Engagement Practicum came together in the Fall 2023 semester to explore both how the 5-acre site can be integrated into its neighborhood streets and public spaces as supportive community infrastructure, and how imaginative adaptive reuse strategies of extreme scale can be a catalyst for social cohesion while also allowing for dynamic overlap of programs.

About Columbia GSAPP Design Clinics

In 2022, Columbia GSAPP launched the Design Clinics, a unique design format that has pioneered the possibility for faculty, researchers, and students from all the disciplines of the built environment – spanning architecture, real estate, urban planning, and historic preservation – to work hand-in-hand with communities and leaders in New York and across the world to provide impactful solutions to urgent and unprecedented crises that can only be addressed through an interdisciplinary approach. This format consolidates GSAPP’s legacy of anticipating formats that lead the evolution of the disciplines of the built environment by pioneering pedagogical formats never tested before – moving from knowledge to action and ideas to impact.

Participating Faculty
Vishal Benjamin
Laurie Hawkinson
Wonne Ickx
Kaja Kühl
Rebecca Macklis
Jahanvi Nahata
Participating Students
Harshini Ashok
Florentina Anastasia
Lucy Baird
Zackary Bryson
Lula Chou
Perry Dhulesia
Marika Falco
Fei Fan
Adam Fried
Preethi Ganesh
Candelaria Gassiebayle
Xin Ge
Keiki Hu
An-Tse Huang
JJ Jin
Emilie Kern
Heejung Kim
Mikhail Kossir
Sahana Kumar
Zhuorui Li
Xinyi (Joy) Liu
Yichun Liu
Chung-An Lu
Shao-Yu Lu
Mingrui Luo
Aliza Mehnaz
Tharika Raman Murali Sundar
Gokul Nair
Shrey Bindesh Patel
Sara Susan Paul
Han Qin
Palak Kaushik Shah
Priyal Shah
EunJin Shin
HyungKyung Seo
Sudhanshu Singh
Philip Spence
Karrthik Subramanian Raamanathan
Thomas Wang
Will Wang
Yi Chi Wang
Jingwei Wu
Yiming Xiong
Xin Yu
Yuhan Zhou
Stephen Zimmerer
Media Contact
Steffen Boddeker, Columbia GSAPP